Purim tomorrow and its revolutionary message.

23 Feb

My ideas about religion are somewhat “interesting” heh, I’ll do a more in depth blog post about it at some point. I am thinking over some ideas in my head, that may or may not make any sense at all. Religion can be at times extremely damaging especially when it promotes religious nationalism and is used to bolster up movements such as zionism but I do not always believe it has played a reactionary role, for example if you look at the liberation theologists of South America – “if I feed the poor they call me a saint, if they ask why they are poor they call me a communist”. In Judaism and Islam there are also examples of religious texts supporting popular uprisings rather than the rulers although this message has also been suppressed by the ruling class and institutions supporting official religion and the establishment. The truth is probably you can make religion what you want it to be and use it to suit any purpose you want.

I would post something long and intellectual  (and probalby will at some stage) about Marx and his views on religion and what I think of it today. And at some point I will. Briefly however I wanted to say that tomorrow is Purim. If you do not know what that is it is basically the story of how the Jews managed to stop a plot by King Xerxes’ adviser Haman to kill them all. Instead Haman ended up being hung in the town square. Of course part of it is not exactly revolutionary because the Jews Esther and Mordechai were already high up in society (esther was the king’s wife, although if you read the story she appears to have been coerced to be married into that family more for economic reasons).

The revolutionary part of it is the fact that so many people stood up against corrupt officials who were planning murder for their own gains. Of course there was no real revolution because if there was the king himself would have been overthrown by the people, but who knows how differently the biblical story would have turned out if there had been.In any case there was a significant change and afterwards the royals knew as a result of the pressure they were under that they could not use anti-semitism to consolidate the power of the throne again and were compelled to punish Haman and his six sons.

And that is a message not just for Jews but for the entire working class that if we stand up against oppression and capitalist exploitation and we need to stand together and fight together to overthrow this corrupt barbaric system.

In some Jewish communities there are “local Purims” to celebrate the community’s escape from some sort of disaster, whether it is man made or natural. Although this is in a religious context I do not necessarily see anything wrong with showing this type of solidarity as long as it’s not nationalistic/to promote hatred of others not in the group.

Certainly the Nazis were worried enough by Purim to ban it because they believed that it was about themselves, and punish anyone in possession of a copy of the Book of Esther, Jew or Christian, with death. When Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer, was hanged in 1946 his last words on the scaffold were “Purimfest 1946!” because he thought the Jews would now celebrate his death.

Er yeah I’m tired and ought to go bed but those are my thoughts for tonight, probably confused and shit but there you go. Have a good one if your celebrating it and if your not have a good one anyway.


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